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Archiver > TMG > 2002-02 > 1014078099

From: "Darrell A. Martin" <>
Subject: Re: [TMG] Weddings, Funerals and other multiple witness situations
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 18:21:53 -0600
References: <>
In-Reply-To: <>

At 06:36 PM 2/18/02 -0500, bob gillis wrote:
>Joel, you include other people in a marriage and a funeral as
>witnesses. You can assign roles to the various participants so the
>sentences read the way you want.
>bob gillis
> wrote:
> >
> > Listers:
> >
> > Several recent postings have expressed frustration at
> > the two-principal limitation in sentences.
> >
> > Weddings fairly often include more than two
> > bridesmaids, and funerals usually involve six
> > pallbearers and possibly more honorary pallbearers.
> >
> > What sort of solutions have other listers worked out to
> > handle such situations? What are the advantages or
> > disadvantages of each approach?
> >
> > If you feel that your answer is not of general interest
> > to the list, and that I am the only one who has not yet
> > solved this problem, please feel free to contact me off-
> > list to help reduce the traffic.
> >
> > Thanks in advance.
> >
> > Joel Watne
> > Muddling Along in Minnesota


One of the difficulties with "principals" and "other witnesses" is that TMG
implies a difference in meaning between the two that is natural, or common
sense. However, the limitation of two "principals" per tag seems to me to
imply that the difference is primarily one of program function.

I happen to agree with another writer that for most tags, if you find
yourself wanting to have more than two "principals" for a tag, you are
probably using a definition of "principal" (in terms of meaning, not
program function) that would stand some examination. Still, there are
situations where the user's understanding of the data is that there are
more than two "principals" in the event. In such cases, a choice must be made.

Either the tag must be "divided up", in effect, so each participant gets to
be a "principal witness" in his or her own tag; or, the user must make
entries that assume a slightly different meaning for "principal" than the
user might intend. The different meaning I refer to is not that of a
different role name, or a different sentence, but rather a difference in
the way TMG will handle the data under certain circumstances depending on
whether a participant is assigned a "principal", or an "other witness", role.

The limitations of the two approaches, based on my limited understanding,
are mostly internal to TMG for the divided tag approach. For example one
would lose the links among the witnesses. I think the limitations of the
different meaning approach mostly involve output or export. For example,
whether a witness sentence will appear on a report may be determined by
whether the witness is a "principal". For me, the output of the program is
somewhat more important than internal issues, and I have chosen to move
toward the divided tag approach. For others, the structure and linkages
within the data are somewhat more important than output, and they would
likely make the other choice. At least, that is what I think.

I do not at this point believe that there is a satisfactory workaround,
within TMG, that allows the user to have the *full* effect of more than two
"principals" for a single tag. (In the TMG data, being a "principal" is not
the matter of setting the equivalent of a flag; it requires that the
participant, as identified in the Witness File (*_E.DBF), occupy one of
exactly two available "principal slots" as identified in the Event File
(*_G.DBF).) There are third-party programs being developed to deal with
some specific issues that come up, such as HTML or GEDCOM output.

I hope someone finds this to be of some use.


Darrell A. Martin
a native Vermonter currently in exile in Addison, Illinois

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